Saturday, November 1, 2008

Probate judge convicted, sentencing key to justice served

by Estate of Denial.Com

Former Covington County (AL) Probate Judge Sherrie Reid Phillips was found guilty of felony ethics and theft charges. Phillips took a $1.8 million check from an estate and put the funds into her personal account. First-degree felony theft evidently isn’t quite the deal in Alabama as it is in Texas. Besides the potential of a fine, Texas felony theft ($200,000+) can result in five years to life in prison.

That Phillips was found guilty is not a surprise. Next step, though, is to see if this becomes another case of the legal industry protecting its own or if a meaningful (non-probationary) sentence might be imposed.

Phillips’ defense attorney is quoted as saying “if she’s treated like every other citizen, she will get probation” and further adds that his client has not previously been charged with any crime. That may be true, but unlike every other citizen, she was a judge!

The American judiciary enjoys great power and, whether deserving or not, expects citizens to treat them with an elevated level of respect. When a judge uses their position to commit a crime and subsequently betrays the public trust as well as this position from which they demand deference, they remove themselves from being ”like every other citizen” and we hope that point is not lost in the sentencing.

Related: Former probate judge Sherrie Phillips convicted

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